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Pallone Urges FDA to Investigate Allegations that JUUL Knowingly Sold Contaminated E-Cigarette Pods

Nov 14, 2019
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) sent a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Brett P. Giroir today urging the agency to investigate allegations that JUUL Labs, Inc. knowingly distributed approximately one million contaminated mint-flavored e-cigarette pods for consumer use. 

According to news reports documenting an ongoing lawsuit involving JUUL, company executives pressured their suppliers to produce more mint-flavored pods to make up for sales losses resulting from the company’s earlier decision to pull most of its other flavored pods from retail stores. 

“This allegedly ‘compromised the quality control measures, as the focus was on producing and selling mint-flavored pods at any cost, even when the product turned out not to be safe,’” Pallone wrote.  “It is imperative that [FDA] investigate this allegation regarding contaminated products on the market if it has not yet done so.”

Pallone also expressed his concern that JUUL may now attempt to promote menthol-flavored pods to compensate for anticipated sales losses due to the company’s decision to remove mint-flavored pods from the market last week.  Pallone pointed to a new study on e-cigarette use that found the use of mint and menthol e-cigarettes increased sharply after JUUL restricted the availability of other flavors. 

“In response to these and other findings, on November 7, 2019, JUUL announced that it would stop the sales of its mint pods, but their menthol products remain on the market,” Pallone continued in his letter.  “Alarmingly, there is nothing to prevent JUUL from promoting menthol products to compensate for the lack of mint pod sales.”

Pallone noted that these concerns are yet another reason for the Administration to move quickly to finalize its proposal to remove all flavored e-cigarette products from the market, which Pallone urged in a letter to President Trump last month.

“These allegations and JUUL’s actions provide yet another reason why the Trump Administration should move quickly to issue its compliance policy to remove flavored e-cigarette products—including both mint- and menthol-flavors—from the market as originally announced,” Pallone concluded.

In the letter to Acting Commissioner Giroir, Pallone also requested a briefing from FDA on the contamination allegations against JUUL as well as a status update on the agency’s preparation for the May 2020 deadline for premarket review of tobacco products.  

Read Pallone’s letter HERE.

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